August 2016

CRM

Real estate brokerages waste valuable growth opportunities by over-focusing on new client adoption and agent recruitment instead of implementing solutions for the retention of both. Industry research shows that repeat clients spend 67% more than first-time clients, so agent and client turnover reduces a brokerage’s potential return-on-investment (ROI) for marketing and training dollars. The key to capturing these high yield sales is enabling agents to efficiently communicate with clients throughout the sales process and beyond. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution significantly boosts the ability of agents to foster long-term relationships, driving repeat—and more profitable– sales. The potential benefits of an experienced agent’s digital rolodex, or CRM, cannot be understated. Given that 80% of buyers would use their agent again, or refer their agent to others, an agent doesn’t have to engage in costly marketing tactics to convince prospects of their value—they’ve already proven it. Agents who have been with a firm for a number of years have cultivated a broad network of the most fruitful prospects. Since client acquisition costs five times more than retention, it makes business sense to provide a targeted CRM tool for agents to maintain positive client relations before and long after the sale, with the added benefit of acquiring additional new referrals. A CRM enables agents to show their professionalism and dedication at every client touch-point, maintaining a top-of-mind presence even years after a sale. Agents can create a 360 degree client view to deliver anticipatory service that increases trust and loyalty. This relationship deepens even after the sale through continued outreach via e-Newsletters, drip campaigns, social media posts and personalized communication on important dates such as anniversaries of new home purchases. More powerfully, a CRM can track response metrics such as how many past clients clicked on electronic links, providing insight into potential leads for harnessing repeat business. Providing effective tools to bolster agents’ achievement positively influences a sense of loyalty toward the firm. As consumer expectations continually rise, brokerages are coming under increased pressure to reduce commissions—which makes it difficult to retain top performers. However, an effective CRM can reduce agents’ time spent on attracting new leads, managing the end-to-end processes of closing the deal, and maintaining communication with existing and past clients. In effect, a CRM increases production with less ‘hands-on’ investment from the agent, making their time spent on each transaction more financially worthwhile. A satisfied agent is one who […]

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NNRMLS Shares Best Practice for Data Management

by Victor Lund on August 30, 2016

The Northern Nevada Regional MLS could be considered a middle tier MLS, ranking around the top 100 largest MLSs in the nation. There are approximately 728 MLSs today, down from 750 in the past 6 months. As consolidation runs rampant across America’s MLS, NNRMLS has become a shining light of MLS excellence. Shelley Specchio, CEO of NNRMLS credits a combination of strong broker relationships and the influence of the Council of MLS as keystones for keeping NNRMLS well positioned to serve their brokers, especially in areas of Data Management. Data Management for MLS has three themes. The first theme is the MLS system database. The second is data services to participating firms, like Internet Data Exchange (IDX) or Virtual Office Websites (VOW). The third is Listing Syndication to publishers. It is this last area of Listing Syndication that NNRMLS developed a Best Practice for Data Management. Specchio explains, “When Listing Syndication became a hot topic back in 2013, we realized that while we, the leadership and staff, had been engaging in the national discussion and clearly understood the ins and outs of Syndication, many of our brokers had not thought about it since we launched ListHub in 2007. Focused on their own businesses, they had forgotten the details and we had failed to keep them engaged in the process, the result was frustration.” To redesign their Data Management program for Listing Syndication, Specchio began to organize a series of meetings to better understand the source of the frustration as well as the pain points for brokers. At first, she fielded demands to drop ListHub and Syndication entirely. But as 2014 progressed and more broker meetings were hosted, it became evident that the main complaint was mistakenly founded on the notion that the MLS was syndicating listings without proper broker direction. (To be clear, NNRMLS has always been a broker opt-in for all Listing Syndication and continues to be.) Once brokers were reintroduced to these facts other issues emerged including, data licensing with publishers, access to control of listing distribution, the speed of updates to the publishers chosen by the broker, and a demand to accurately identify the status. Best Practice for Broker Choice One frustration included accessing the dashboard to make syndication decisions. Although NNRMLS has long offered Single Sign on through Clareity Security, ListHub does not, even now, support an SSO solution.  So NNRMLS created a Broker Section on […]

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Gurtej Sodhi Promoted

by Victor Lund on August 30, 2016

Gurtej Sodhi

Two years into being assigned the role of the Chief Strategist in addition to being Crye-Leike’s Chief Information Officer, Gurtej Sodhi has been promoted to the position of Chief Information & Operations Officer for the Crye-Leike Group of Companies. In his new role, Sodhi is chartered with the responsibility of ensuring that all the business units utilize the best systems and processes to operate in the most effective and productive manner. He reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer & Chairman Harold Crye, Technology, systems, and processes are all becoming critical to achieving maximum efficiency, noted Crye. “Gurtej has successfully delivered in all the roles he has undertaken over the past two decades as Crye-Leike has grown geographically, along with diversifying into multiple business units,” said Crye.  “As a key member of the senior executive team, we expect him to guide and assist all the business unit presidents in attaining a unified vision and cohesive goal of sustained growth and profitability in this role.” “I am excited and optimistic to play a part in helping Crye-Leike’s future success and aligning the business operations and technology for all our units in an integrated manner to deliver the best results for our agents, employees and customers,” said Sodhi. “I am thankful and honored by the trust and confidence placed in me.”

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How Does Howard Hanna Do It?

by Victor Lund on August 24, 2016

Table with job growth stats

The title to this article may very well become the title of a book someday. The story of Howard Hanna’s ascension to the pinnacle of real estate brokerage in America is certainly one for the Library of Congress. By and large, their growth has come from two streams – market expansion in existing offices and acquisition. Oddly, not much has come from property value growth. I remember my early days in real estate. I was at a conference somewhere and Alain Pinel was speaking about the growth of his namesake brokerage. When asked about his success, he replied along the lines of “when the doctors and lawyers are the poor people in your town, real estate is a great business.” It was a profound statement to take in. During the times of most rapid growth of Alain Pinel, Intero, and others in San Jose, property values were exploding in line with job silicon valley job expansion and income expansion. Clearly the market place in many areas of America is driving the growth of real estate brokerage. If your market share is steady but the property value grows double digits, your brokerage will have double-digit growth. In viewing the antithesis, when your market share is flat but home values go down, so does brokerage volume. It’s a factor of the old business lore that tides float all boats. Like all brokerages, Howard Hanna has experienced extraordinary growth coming out of the recession, but it was not the market that did it. Take a look at this graph that shows metros with the slowest job growth in 2016. It is pretty obvious that Howard Hanna’s growth was not just impacted by the rise in tide of property values. They expanded their market share by purchasing companies and growing same store sales. Howard Hanna has offices across the regions of Upstate New York and Northern PA that were highlighted as markets with lowest job growth. These adverse local economic problems did not seem to hinder Howard Hanna. Contrast this with NRT, the nation’s largest brokerage. NRT just took a hit during their last public reporting whereby they acknowledged that the Franchise business was doing well, but company owned NRT stores were underperforming. The market reacted negatively to the NRT report because they are concerned that NRT is not able to maintain or expand the companies they acquire. In truth, we do not know […]

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          Agents using RatePlug technology report faster sales cycle, provide better data to buyers Naperville, IL (Chicagoland) – August 24, 2016 – For the first time, MetroList® agents and homebuyers will be able to view on MetroList – their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – total monthly housing payments for every property listed for sale, including current mortgage rates, taxes, assessments, and home owners insurance information. MetroList Services Inc., the largest MLS in Northern California has released RatePlug’s new mortgage technology to its more than 17,000 real estate brokers and agents in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Western Merced Counties. RatePlug brings mortgage transparency to the home buying process, helping buyers better understand affordability issues at the very beginning of the home searching process, and it helps consumers “buy local,” as local lender data is provided by mortgage providers. RatePlug has become the nation’s leading mortgage technology integrated into the MLS and is now available to more than 60 percent of all real estate agents and brokers in the U.S. – or nearly 750,000 REALTORS® nationwide. “MetroList agents can now provide homebuyers a clear picture of what they really can afford upfront and as they are viewing a property,” said Dave Howe, Director of MLS Operations at MetroList. “Setting accurate consumer expectations will help buyers and real estate agents reduce the number of surprises that can come from purchasing a home.” RatePlug CEO Brad Springer says, “Consumers love doing online comparisons – ‘what if’ scenarios – looking at different interest rate and mortgage products. It’s one of the most used features RatePlug offers. And because all the property costs are up-to-date and mortgage rates are provided in real time, buyers get better, more accurate data as well.” And because RatePlug is dynamic, homebuyers stay on the agent’s listing longer, as Springer says average homebuyers spend up to 6 minutes more viewing an MLS listing featuring RatePlug than one without. Springer also notes that agents using RatePlug get another a big bonus. “Our research shows that agents who use RatePlug experience a faster sales cycle, as the list date to contract date is shortened by 14%,” Springer says. The regulatory environment within the real estate industry is complex and fluid – from the massive record-keeping requirement of the FTC MAP rules, to all of the changes that have come with TRID. The RatePlug […]

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BlackKnight

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Black Knight Financial Services (NYSE: BKFS) announced that Georgia MLS(GAMLS) has launched the Paragon MLS system after a smooth and successful conversion process. GAMLS extended its long-term partnership with Black Knight by signing a multi-year agreement to use Paragon, Black Knight’s comprehensive, leading-edge MLS system that offers intuitive and straightforward navigation, cross-browser compatibility, multi-tasking capabilities and access from mobile devices. GAMLS is one of the largest multiple listing service (MLS) organization in the Southeast, with over 3,100 offices and more than 31,000 agents and appraisers. “We are committed to providing smooth implementations and exceptional customer support to our clients,” said Black Knight Data & Analytics Vice President and Real Estate Market Leader Chip McAvoy. “We develop a collaborative partnership with clients and take a considerable amount of time to understand their needs before they go live on the new MLS system. With Paragon, GAMLS members can use a solution — including our Client Connect consumer portal — that sets a new standard in MLS performance and capability.” Close attention to detail and a seamless data migration were also important factors in the smooth conversion. Black Knight carefully planned every aspect of the conversion in advance, including the data migration, and worked with the GAMLS team to help coordinate front- and back-end system transition. “The Paragon transition for our large membership was executed seamlessly. The ease of the conversion process, the collaboration between GAMLS and Black Knight, and the team’s hard work led to an exceptional experience for us,” said Richard Boone, CEO of Georgia MLS. “It was imperative that the cutover go smoothly and that timelines were met so our members would experience no service interruptions or difficulties. We have worked closely with the Black Knight MLS division for approximately 10 years, and are looking forward to our continued business relationship.” Recognized in the real estate industry for its flexibility, ease of use, customizable features, continual enhancements and integration with public records information, Paragon has received the top ranking in the annual Clareity Consulting MLS Customer Satisfaction Survey for the past four years, and has recently been installed in numerous MLS organizations that selected Paragon as their MLS system of choice. About Georgia Multiple Listing Service Georgia MLS has provided real estate tools, services and education to real estate professionals for over 50 years. With member offices ranging from the North Georgia Mountains, through […]

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CoreLogic Logo

When you dominate an industry by market share as CoreLogic does in real estate, there are certain adjectives that become elusive. One of them is “innovative.” That’s because Conventional Wisdom in real estate says that when it comes to tech firms, it’s only the ones with the shiniest and newest objects – run by the new kids on the block – that are deemed innovative. Certainly, it’s not a word typically used to describe a company founded in the early 1990s. Yet about 10 days ago, something remarkable happened in the City of San Francisco, one of the bastions of innovation, during the Inman News Real Estate Connect Conference at a red carpet gala. CoreLogic, born a quarter of a century ago, won the coveted 2016 Inman Innovator Award for “Most Innovative Real Estate Company.” According to Inman News, its Innovator Awards “are given each year to recognize and celebrate industry innovation and accomplishments.” Inman reports that its innovation honors can be given to a “specific app, technology or business process that qualifies someone for consideration.” In other cases, the company as a whole consistently tries new things, adopts new technology or creates a new culture or approach to real estate. Getting ahead of the curve Conventional wisdom proved to be wrong because CoreLogic, once thought of as part of the industry’s old guard, has pivoted in a major way, leapfrogging its competition. Not only did it earn honors as the top innovator among a list of blue-chip candidates that included Move, Realogy, Keller Williams, Zillow and Leading RE, but it also won the top spot over some of the hottest startups, including Xome, Open Door, Smart Zip, Real and a dozen more firms who have invented some of the shiniest new objects available today. Moreover, Trestle, from CoreLogic, was named a 2016 Inman Innovator Awards runner up in the “Most Innovative Technology” category. What’s incredible about this feat is the fact that the product isn’t being released until the fall. Trestle is the much talked about national marketplace that connects data sources with data recipients. It is designed to address key pain points that real estate brokers, technology providers, and multiple listing organizations struggle with today. Clearly, the impact of this technology on the real estate industry is expected to be massive. Year of Innovation “This truly is the ‘Year of Innovation’ for CoreLogic,” said Chris Bennett, general manager […]

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Does Your Email Blast Stack Up?

by Marilyn Wilson on August 16, 2016

Email

MLSs and Brokerages struggle constantly with how to build communications that break-through to their agents.   Sometimes, it’s hard to know how your marketing efforts stack up against others, so I thought I would share this study to give all of us some perspective. As all online marketers know, open rate and click through rate are two key metrics that need to be closely monitored to ensure that you getting the bang for your marketing buck! According to a recent study called the 2016 Email Marketing Benchmarks Study    th published by IBM, the average click through of emails sent in the United States in 18.3%.   The strongest performers on average enjoyed an unprecedented 41.6% click through rate.   So how does your email blast compare? What are the key drivers of Open Rates?    Headlines, timing and targeted relevance are key according to the experts.  At our sister company, RE Technology, we have found that click through rates are strongest when there’s a compelling message tied to real estate success.  REALTORS are sales people and they love to be sold to.  Don’t be too cerebral or technical with your message. Don’t be too verbose either.  REALTORS want the quick answer – give them the reason why they should spend the time to click on your message. Click through rates are another key driver of successful email campaigns. If your offer isn’t compelling enough for them to click through it’s going to make achieving a solid ROI a lot tougher.  According to the IBM study, the average click through rate in the United States is 1.6%. The study goes on to say that the average open rate for residential, commercial and multi-family emails is 2.5%, probably because the topic is highly interesting to those that have subscribed for prospecting campaigns. Third, the study helps us understand WHERE people are reading and clicking on email campaigns. In the U.S. today, nearly half of all views for emails are coming from mobile.  Today, you must absolutely design email blasts to be optimized and easy to digest on mobile first, and then secondarily for the desktop. Since we’re marketers ourselves (I was formerly SVP Marketing at Fisher-Price) we always want to work with our clients to find the most effective ways to break through to consumers and agents. In the communications campaigns that we run for our PR clients, we find that a good mixture of press […]

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Enroll for WAVes of Change Today!

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

WAVes of Change

WAVes of Change is a quarterly webinar series that is produced to keep executives and board members current on industry changes and opportunities for operational excellence. Program Overview The WAVes of Change Webinar Series is designed to empower Association, MLS and Broker professionals across North America to make well-informed decisions that help propel their organizations forward. The series is intended to educate your staff, Board of Directors and other invited guests without having to attend multiple events and read scores of journals and research reports. Because WAV Group works with several MLSs, Associations, Brokerages and Technology Companies we bring several perspectives on key issues that are affecting our industry and home buyers and sellers today. The WAVes of Change is a great way to save money while navigating industry changes as well as optimizing time to focus on relationships and profitability. The quarterly (4) 1-hour online events will be designed to educate your Board, staff and other invited guests about the following types of topics: Breaking News and its implications Technology Trends WAV Group research Industry Research Consumer Trends Broker Trends Threats and Opportunities Best Practices/Case Studies Your Board, staff and invited guests will participate on the call with fellow Associations and MLSs from around the country, encouraging information sharing. Since Associations and MLSs share many of the same challenges, the questions posed by the audience will help provide ideas and insight for every participating organization. Since the event is virtual, your Board, staff and invited guests can participate from whatever location is convenient for them – their office, home or your office. The session will be recorded and you will have full rights to share the recording to others in your organization as you choose. WAV Group can also provide you with the presentation materials if you need to use them for another presentation or discussion. About WAV Group WAV Group is highly respected and is a leading real estate industry consulting and research firm. Our Founding Partners have been named to the Inman Top 101 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate and the Swanepoel Top 200 Power Lists. WAV Group works with many of the nation’s largest MLSs and Associations as well as leading brokerages from around North America conducting industry updates and strategic planning sessions. The company also works with many of the most progressive technology organizations keeping them abreast of the latest trends in real estate […]

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The Refugee Olympics

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

Olympic Swimmer

Please welcome Camilla Harvey to the team at WAV Group. She has been with the firm for about 9 months. She is now a permanent resident of the United States seeking citizenship. Prior to joining WAV Group, Camilla spent time in West Africa understanding the plight of people living in Ghana. She brings a perspective to WAV Group that enriches our office culture. Camilla and I were looking at the Olympic medal count during a break and we recognized a new nation called “The Refugee Olympic Team.” Camilla followed her intrigue and researched this odd group bringing forth this article that says nothing about real estate, but may enrich you as it has enriched us. It is always to understand the global perspective about housing, and like the poor we recognize that humanity has left so many behind. Enjoy! – Victor Lund One team at the 2016 Rio Olympics is certainly winning over hearts across the world, the Refugee Olympic Team. This team has made history by being the first of its kind. The team of ten was formed as part of an effort to show solidarity for the world’s refugees and ongoing crises across the world. The Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, wanted the team to be “a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide and to bring attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis.” Let’s get the cold, hard, disheartening facts out of the way first. Forced displacement has hit a record high in 2015 due to conflict and persecution in countries around the world, the figure of 1 in every 113 humans affected is astonishing. The refugee population totals 65.3 million worldwide, roughly equivalent to the population size of the United Kingdom, France or Italy. Each of these people are either an asylum seeker, internally displaced, or a refugee. There are three major reasons for this record high: The conflicts that cause large outflows of refugee populations are lasting longer, Somalia and Afghanistan are into their third and fourth decades of internal conflict respectively. There are tense new situations occurring, the biggest today, which has been exhaustively covered in global media, is the Syrian conflict. The final reason behind this saddening statistic is the simple fact that the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and those displaced internally has been on a declining trend since the end of the Cold War. An article in The […]

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Shady Discount Broker

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

Shady Broker

As a consumer, I seek to keep myself aware of services offered by brokerage firms across the county. It’s a bit of a passion of mine. A story run by NBC caught my eye: “New Real Estate Technology from Homecast Empowers Home Sellers to Sell Without An Agent.” As I browsed through it, my stomach began to churn a bit. First off, they seem to talk about being a technology company, but most the article talks about how they advertise listings on third party listing websites – specifically Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia, but also on the MLS. They offer to represent sellers (seemingly as the broker for the sale) for the low rate of $799. The article does not mention the name of the brokerage name. In my experience, you need to be a real estate broker to “distribute as a Featured Listing to the MLS”. So I tried to find out if this person is actually a real estate broker.  I reached out to the Association of Realtors® and found that Joe Lashinger is not listed as a licensed broker or agent. Checking with an MLS, I learned that Mr. Lashinger works for the Broker at Picket Fence – and that they did not have any listings as of the time of this article being written. To me, it kinda sounds like a paper brokerage. When I checked the other sites like Trulia I found Joe listed as an Agent for Homecast – which is weird, Joe does not appear to be an Agent and Homecast is listed as a team with no broker. On Zillow, there is not agent named Joe Lashinger but there is also a team called Homecast with no agents which has no listings, and no sales in the last 12 months. As you might expect, there is no information about Joe or Homecast on Realtor.com that I was able to find. What’s a consumer to do? So here is the rub. First of all, shame on the media for publishing information about Homecast without investigating the claims and considering the risk that they could be leading the consumer toward. Secondly, I hope that firms like Zillow and Trulia will expunge the data from their servers. Is this something that should be reported to the State Department of Real Estate? Do you think that this type of effort for Disruption in Real Estate should be punished […]

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What Does Your Website Say About You?

by Steve Cook on August 16, 2016

Website Picture

Websites are the public faces of real estate professionals.  No other single marketing tool comes close to equalling the importance of a  website.  They deliver the first images and words about an agent or a brokerage that prospective clients and customers see. If a site doesn’t connect with  consumers in a matter of seconds; that first impression could be a real estate professional’s last chance to win a new account.  Sites that consistently fail to be compelling can do serious damage to a perfectly competent real estate practice. Yet hundreds of thousands of agents and brokers publish sites that miss the mark by miles.   After spending thousands to build and host a site, they spend even more for canned content that can do more harm than good. News you can’t use Some use services that carry national or regional economic news feeds that provide “national” or “regional” information on market trends.  Other sites use “how to” content written for the broadest possible audience in terms of geography, price tier, age group.  The chances are good that much, if not most, canned content misses the mark for three reasons: It’s so generic that it doesn’t convey that the site’s owner has any particular expertise or focus; Competing agents and brokers in the same market may carry the same canned content, which creates confusion and defeats the purpose of the site; and It occupies space on your site that could be put to much better use. What consumers want As you think about how to make your website more effective, begin with the basics.  Here’s what consumers want, according to the most recent NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: Buyers are looking for someone who is honest and has integrity, is responsive, has knowledge of the purchase process, and who has knowledge of the real estate market. Sellers are looking for someone who can reach potential buyers, sell their home within a specific timeframe and price their home competitively. Content that connects Content that demonstrates knowledge of the local market,  expertise in delivering the services consumers want and examples of values like honesty and integrity are more likely to hit consumers’ sweet spot.  Some suggestions on how to create content that connects: Tell stories.  Write short (300-500 words), personal narratives recounting how you are delivering the services consumers want.  Be entertaining but avoid the hype.  Work in humor, especially when you […]

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Social Networks

The opinions and experiences of friends and acquaintances have always shaped the way people think about buying, owning and selling homes.  New research suggests that the social networks that influence attitudes towards real estate decision-making today are more likely to be national, not local, and the consequences could be serious.  Thus, consumers are making critical decisions about buying, selling, owning or renting in part based not on conditions in the markets where they live but on the experiences of friends who may live across the continent. The new way people think about real estate presents real challenges to real estate professionals.  Real estate markets are more localized than ever.  Conditions can vary greatly from one metro to another or even within a metropolitan area for a variety of reasons, including local employment, transportation infrastructure, aftershocks of the housing crash and demographic factors like concentrations of aging Boomers or Millennials who are coming of age.  Buyers and sellers must work closely with professionals who are an expert on local real estate markets and have access to the very best microlocal data.  Otherwise, they risk making bad decisions that could last a lifetime. A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed a Facebook survey of users in Los Angeles County and found that individuals whose friends experienced larger recent house price increases considered local property a more attractive investment.  The researchers analyzed   the    relationships between the home price experiences of a person’s friends and four housing decisions:  whether to rent or own, the square footage of properties bought, the price paid for a particular house, and the leverage chosen to finance the purchase. The researchers found that a 5 percentage point larger house price increase over the previous 24 months in the communities where an individual’s social network friends lived raised that individual’s likelihood of moving from renting to owning by 3.1 percentage points during the following 24 months.  These price increases were associated with a 1.7 percent increase in the average size of the home purchased, a 3.3 percent increase in the amount paid for the house, and a 7 percent larger down payment. Conversely, when someone’s social network friends experienced less-positive house price changes no matter where they lived, those individuals were more likely to become renters and more likely to sell their property at lower prices. The researchers concluded that their findings “can contribute to […]

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Zillow Group Buys Bridge to Go Upstream

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

Zillow Logo

Zillow Group announced the purchase of Bridge Interactive, making them the provider of listing input in a number of MLSs, and the data distribution manager in many others. In some ways, Bridge Interactive is like Upstream, but not a competitor. Bridge is about helping brokers solve data problems and may become a conduit that more easily permits Upstream to allow brokers to deliver listing content to MLSs. Throughout the process of developing the Request for Proposal for Project Upstream, the technology workgroup evaluated many technology offerings. At the end of the day, there were three pieces to the Upstream puzzle that needed to be put together – Listing Input and Management; Data Repository; and Listing Distribution. Listing input and management is the hardest par, as is it includes the ability to handle the sophistication of an MLS system. Many technology firms have ample Data Repositories so that is not the hard part. Listing distribution is pretty common and not hard either. A stand-alone solution for listing input is rare, most MLS systems have this component baked in. Atlanta-based Bridge Interactive developed a specific application to solve the problem of overlapping market disorder for MLSs, whereby a single listing would go into two or more MLSs. As a case in point, the Atlanta, GA area has two MLS offerings – FMLS and Georgia MLS. Bridge Interactive allows brokers to enter a listing once into Bridge Interactive and publish it in both MLSs, as well as capture additional fields required by the broker. The hard part is supporting the business rules of an MLS or multiple MLSs and resolving them into a single user interface. Zillow Group has had the pieces to Upstream with the combination of Postlets for listing input, their massive data repository, and listing distribution, through both Postlets and Retsly. I would expect that their data repository is equal to or greater than most any data repository in our industry. It certainly is massive and seems to have no trouble with the largest concurrent real estate load in the world. But Postlets was developed for a simpler type of data input – namely input for syndication. Today, Postlets has been re-deployed as the Zillow Rentals Manager and is no longer used for listing input. With Bridge Interactive, Zillow Group has improved their capabilities in listing input significantly. Moreover, they have acquired the team from Bridge, who are among the sharpest in our […]

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Impact of CoreLogic and Graphiq Deal

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

Graphiq Logo

Earlier this month, Santa Barbara based Graphiq and CoreLogic announced an agreement between the two companies. As it turns out, Graphiq has been providing services to other areas of CoreLogic before expanding their relationship to the Real Estate Solutions group managed by Chris Bennett. Graphiq is a company that takes big data and turns it into something they call Visualizations (think graphs and charts). There are two features which make Graphiq unique. First is that Graphiq can handle CoreLogic’s volume of property data and second, they provide visualizations that are embeddable, update dynamically, and can be accessed using an API. For example, if you build a chart that displays something like price per square foot over a 10-year period of time, the chart will never go out of date. This allows a chart to be easily embedded into a web page or report. This deal allows Graphiq to expand their existing real estate product offering, which already includes location data such as schools, demographics, local businesses, and crime. The target audiences for this product are Real Estate portals, MLSs and brokers looking to combine  CoreLogic market data with MLS data to communicate facets of market analytics to agents and consumers. The pricing is based on consumption of the API, making the pricing very affordable for small firms and scalable for enterprise. Sales are handled through both the Graphiq and CoreLogic sales team. Competitors in this segment include Teradatum and ShowingTime. RE Technology readers may recall that ShowingTime recently purchased 10k from the Minneapolis Association of REALTORS® and Real Estate Business Intelligence (RBI) from Mid-Atlantic MLS leader, Metropolitan Regional Multiple Listing Service (MRIS). These acquisitions have helped ShowingTime extend their product reach to more than 900,000 real estate professionals. According to CoreLogic Real Estate Solutions General Manager, Chris Bennett, “Having a powerful, scalable solution will help address a major gap in the marketplace, while also allowing us to diversify and strengthen our product offerings. We look forward to working with Graphiq and integrating their visualization tools into our products and services in the future.”  CoreLogic was recently awarded the Innovator of the Year Award by real estate news publisher, Inman News. It is great to see CoreLogic leveraging their massive data repository to drive innovation into the hands of MLSs and brokerages. This arrangement with Graphiq will deliver tools that the practitioner can use to play a more significant role in […]

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Baird and Warner Dropping Big Bombs

by Victor Lund on August 16, 2016

Baird and Warner

With great interest, WAV Group noticed that Baird and Warner announced in July that they are partnering with BombBomb™ in offering their video solution. Historically, WAV Group has always understood BombBomb as an agent video solution. We believe that Baird and Warner may represent the largest firm to deploy their solution across their enterprise. We caught up with Laura Ellis, President of Residential Sales at Baird and Warner to understand the strategy. For Baird and Warner, many agents in their company had found BombBomb on their own.  This is how the company started to become aware of the service. Overall, agents have continued to ask for more video tools beyond their video virtual tours and their video agent bios. It is important to understand that Baird and Warner supplies Google Work tools to their agents – so gmail is the primary eMail tool used by their agents. With BombBomb’s direct integration into gMail, the “compose a video” button is conveniently located with “compose mail.” BombBomb is also integrated into the Chrome browser for easy access. (BombBomb also has a deep integration with Outlook™ and a long list of CRM tools) Baird and Warner did not license BombBomb as a site license. Rather, the company purchased licenses for all of their managers and negotiated a discount off of the $39-$69 per month price for their agents. Ellis reports that agents really seem to like it, over 85 of their 2150 agents having registered for the service already and have sent over 1300 vMails. She suggests that the adoption is driven largely by the convenient integrations and the simplicity of using the tool. Here is a video of Laura Ellis discussing the service in a BombBomb vMail – click the image to hear the video. At the very end of the video, Ms Ellis mentions something very important. The managers are using this tool for recruiting. Ellis also discussed this in our call whereby she shared that she is using the tool to frequently communicate to her managers. The response has been great, and many of the mangers are using the BombBomb tool to reply to her messages. All in all, it seems like they are having a lot of fun. Other companies are also using a free service from Facebook called Messenger to send videos to clients and groups within their company. Firms looking for a vMail solution may want to try BombBomb free for […]

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5 Ways CEOs Fail When Being Interviewed

by Kevin Hawkins on August 16, 2016

Girl Interviewing

Years ago, I worked with Anne Ready, who founded Ready for Media, perhaps the best media training firm in Los Angeles. Working with Anne laid the foundation in my PR education early on when it came to media training. I have relied on her tools, tricks and tactics to help me through the years to teach CEOs how to prepare and be prepared when working with reporters. Having worked for some of the largest financial institutions in the world, I also have had the unique opportunity to interact with C-level (CEOs, COOs, Chairs, CMOs, CTOs, etc.) executives in preparing them for interviews with reporters since I was in my 20s. What I have discovered throughout the decades is a pretty mixed bag: some executives are very good on stage making a presentation, but falter when you turn on the lights and a camera; others are shy and dread speaking with reporters; many are simply mediocre and some of those mistakenly think they are media rock stars, and that may be the most dangerous ones of all. Then there are the exceptions to the rule, the top executive who is a PR person’s dream, as they are polish, knowledgeable and authentic. I have worked with folks who fit in every one of these categories, and what I have found is there are 5 common ways that CEOs fail when being interviewed by a reporter. Here’s my quick checklist of these mistakes and how to avoid them. Forgetting the little things The best top executives you want to serve, as your spokespersons, are the ones that want to be coached or at least understand they can benefit from professional coaching to get better. They don’t think they’re perfect. Even the most polish CEO can forget the little things. Such as when they are talking about their company, they say “here” or “we” instead of the company name. The better sentence for “We believe in the power of our employees” is “At XYZ Corp, we believe in the power of our employees.” Working one’s company name naturally into the conversation embeds it into a quote and on radio, TV or in print, your audience is more likely to remember your firm and credit is assured. Other little things that can be particularly troublesome – and very common in real estate: speaking in industry jargon or using acronyms. That’s not going to work for […]

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Understanding the 4 “L’s” of Strategic PR

by Kevin Hawkins on August 16, 2016

Chess Pieces

We’re often asked at the WAV Group, “What makes your PR services different?” It’s a great question, as frankly most public relations firms don’t specialize solely in real estate and real estate technology PR. Moreover, many PR firms today provide an unbalanced focus on social media and largely ignore regularly engaging, directly, with traditional media. At WAV Group Communications, we think the better approach is Strategic PR, and it’s our great differentiator. To understand what makes Strategic PR plans and execution different, let’s take a look at the 4 “L’s” that explain the differences between what we do and what a plain vanilla or socially obsessed PR firm does. Strategic PR is layered The best PR programs have always been fully integrated into a firm’s marketing and sales efforts. PR should never be a standalone program. It needs to be layered into all the communications opportunities a firm does both internally and externally. It should help solve business pain points and drive both awareness and engagements, but it must do so with many audiences. That means not just keeping on message in everything a firm does, but also making sure that messaging is honed to the right audience Audience identification is often taken for granted in PR programs. Technology today allows us to bifurcate audiences into many layers, based on a number of factors, from demographics, to shared behaviors and interests. A Strategic PR plan understands how messaging, audience identification and media channels need to be layered into a PR program that increases its effectiveness and can accelerate results. Strategic PR uses leverage It’s amazing to discover when working with a new client that they have no internal distribution system to share the success of their PR efforts with employees. Strategic PR planning makes this an imperative. Team members typically are a firm’s biggest fans and most powerful external advocates. There is nothing more they want to see than a feature story highlighting their company’s success. They will share, post, like and promote the heck out of it throughout their sphere and social channels. All you have to do is share the information and ask them to help. They will. Externally, leverage is perhaps more vital. When an article appears in a major publication, how you respond will determine both the breadth and length of its impact. Strategic PR puts in place the systems that leverage all channels, from social […]

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Imprev Study: Upstream garners remarkable support

by Kevin Hawkins on August 2, 2016

Imprev logo

Going into Real Estate Connect San Francisco, Upstream CEO Alex Lange should be all smiles when he reads the latest Thought Leader Survey – an Upstream-focused study – from real estate marketing automation leader Imprev. The latest Imprev study released today shows that 84% of the more than 300 top real estate execs participating say they “support” Upstream. Alex already had a strong wind of momentum at his back after releasing, to much praise, the new Upstream website. Upstream is also nominated for a 2016 Innovator Award by Connect conference organizer, Inman News. The nomination in itself is a considerable feat, considering Upstream hasn’t even launched yet. The study also points to some challenges that Upstream faces: executives say that the agents and the mortgage industry are basically clueless when it comes to Upstream. But clearly, Alex has already read those tea leaves because, in his first Blog after joining Upstream, he wrote: “I believe there’s a need for transparency….What I am saying is I want transparency so that I can solicit the knowledge and insight of the community at large.” Alex also said he is going to be heading on the road to share the Upstream story, so coming into this fall’s plethora of real estate broker and agent-centric conventions and conferences, his timing will be especially poignant to address the weaknesses the new study illustrates. Finally, you might miss the most crucial point of this survey: independence of the source, as Imprev has no dog in this hunt. Imprev CEO Renwick Congdon created the Thought Leader Survey concept in 2012 and about twice each year, takes the temperature of real estate leaders, focusing on key issues, industry trends and business pain points to encourage broker-owners and top franchise executives to engage in a discussion that will generate new ideas and solutions. Below is the full news release, and if you want a copy of the survey’s summary, it can be obtained free, directly from Imprev, here. Upstream Study Shows Strong Real Estate Industry Support New Thought Leader Survey by Imprev Details Strengths, Challenges  August 2, 2016 – Bellevue, WA – Real estate leaders are nearly unanimous in support of Upstream, a new real estate brokerage-driven effort to streamline listing and sales data and its online delivery, a new study reveals. The vast majority of real estate leaders – 84% – say they are supportive of Upstream. The new […]

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RESO Continues to Expand it’s Influence and Leadership

by Marilyn Wilson on August 2, 2016

RESO Real Estate Standards logo

The dedicated staff at the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) and thousands of volunteers from companies across the globe have labored away at the arduous task of creating consistent data standards to be used by all MLSs, technology companies and brokerages.  They have set the stage for a ton more efficiency and innovation in our industry. The RESO Data Dictionary is now available through nearly 550 MLSs across the country serving nearly 1.2mm REALTORS® today and the RETS data transportation standard has been adopted by every MLS organization and successfully utilized over the past 16 years since its inception. RESO’s hard work and success at creating a consistent method for transmitting and displaying real estate information is designed to help brokers be able to expand into markets more easily and to help technology companies move quickly to add new features that will help brokers differentiate themselves and provide more value to real estate consumers while reducing the complexities of support at the local MLS level. The RESO organization has done such a good job of creating awareness and adoption of its real estate data standards and formalizing official certification programs for all RESO standards that it has attracted many other standards organizations. RESO is expanding its leadership role to ensure all aspects of real estate are covered by one cohesive collection of data standards. Today, RESO partners with a myriad of real estate standards organizations creating an umbrella of standards that will help the real estate thrive. RESO enjoys an impressive list of partnerships with the Department of Energy, the National Multi-Family Housing Council and their Multifamily Information and Transactions Standards (MITS), the mortgage industry with the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization,(MISMO) the Building Industry with the Building and Land Development Standards (BLDS).  These collaborations make it easier for brokers to participate in multifamily sales, green home sales, mortgage transactions and new home sales.  In addition, RESO is a member within OASIS, ensuring the real estate industry leverages global technology standards that complement the needs of the real estate industry. Art Carter, CEO of the California Regional MLS and Chairman of the RESO Board shared this with us,  “RESO has worked long and hard to lead the way when it comes to real estate standards in our industry and we are thrilled to have become the de Facto leader of real estate standards in our industry.  The partnerships we have […]

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